Breaking! The Yucatán Peninsula Celebrates Four Years of A Cruelty-Free Fiesta; No More Animals Will Be Harmed In The Tradition

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Photo by Humane Society International

For the fourth consecutive year, the cruelty-free Fiesta de San Bartolo replaced Kots Kaal Pato, the shockingly brutal Yucatán ritual of stringing up animals inside piñatas and beating them to death. The Humane Society International/Mexico has been working on the ground with local partners for several years to help the community embrace a cultural change in favor of the humane treatment of animals. Through humane education and by offering alternative activities, animals are no longer victims of cruelty in the name of “entertainment.”

Felipe Marquez, HSI/Mexico animal protection expert said in a statement, “Cruel festivities in which different kinds of animals are abused take place on a regular basis across Mexico. Ensuring the humane transformation of the Izamal fiesta is vital to proving that traditions can evolve as societies’ values become more considerate and compassionate.”

Replacing what used to be one of the cruelest festivals in Mexico, Fiesta de San Bartolo, has become a family celebration, promoting sports and games such as “Carreras Argentinas,” in which young people ride bikes while trying to get prizes hanging from a wire in the main plaza.

By continuing to work with the people and authorities of the community Citilcum in Izamal, HSI/Mexico hopes that this annual event will remain cruelty-free into the future.

Humane Society International’s work in Mexico

HSI first opened an office in Mexico City back in 2016, hosting a well-attended event that brought together legislators, food companies, government officials, celebrities, and local organizations.

With 120 million people, Mexico has its own set of animal welfare challenges, and when you consider that countless animals are moving between our countries – right along with people and capital and so many goods and commodities – it’s imperative to put a stake in the ground there. We cannot solve animal welfare problems in the United States only to see them replanted in Mexico.

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